WP7.hu has posted a large number of screen captures from the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK emulator which reveals plenty of new Windows Phone 8 features. You’ll notice a few very interesting additions.
First up is the “Backup” settings which lets you save things to Microsoft’s cloud service automatically attached to your Microsoft ID. There’s an option for saving your app list + settings which will make it easy to reinstall all of your apps to a new phone. I’m not sure if this will save game progress as well, but we definitely hope so. Another great backup option is the one for text messages. The old Windows Mobile had numerous features for backing up text messages which is important for people to be able to reference in some senarios (it’s especially good for lawyers). Hopefully a desktop app or cloud service will also let you send text messages through your phone. Of course you can backup photos and videos to the cloud as well. Previously there was only a photos auto-upload option in Windows Phone 7, and it had the limitation of downsampling the images as well as using your cellular data service/battery too much. Hopefully this new feature will save the full resolution versions and perhaps have the option to work only when charging and connected to WiFi.
The new lock screen customization options also seem quite interesting. You can customize which 5 app notification numbers appear at the bottom in addition to one detailed status notification above those. This is similar to Windows 8’s new lock screen. There’s also a new Wallpaper background image option. Instead of only being able to choose a photo from your library, Skydrive, and Facebook photo albums, you can also choose “Bing”. We’re think that this will automatically change your lock screen image to Bing’s picture of the day every morning. It sounds like developers will be able to add options here as well for automatically changing your lock screen image periodically.
In terms of speech features of course we already know about the added extensibility which will allow 3rd party apps to add voice commands to the centralized speech UI in Windows Phone 8. That alone is a killer feature, but I’m disappointed that I don’t see too many new native voice command features. In the screen shots it looks like there’s a new option for creating OneNote notes using speech, but there isn’t anything for controlling the music player which is something I think would be very important while driving. Nor do I see anything for controlling the built-in navigation features, creating appointments, or setting alarms.
On the other hand I do see a new microphone icon in the OneNote app.
It’s the same icon that does speech-to-text recognition in the Messaging app, so I think it’s safe to assume that dictation features will be available at least in OneNote and hopefully elsewhere as well (like email). UPDATE: Unfortunately that’s probably just the old Voice recording button.
We’ve copied the screenshots from WP7.hufor you to see in the gallery below. You’ll see lots of other little enhancements like more accent color options, over-the-air update options, Xbox 360 integration in the Music hub, nearby Wi-Fi locations shown in the maps app, NFC options, SD card storage management, and a few Start screen layouts.
It’s important to remember that the first Windows Phone SDK certainly did not include all of the features and functionality of the final release version. This leaked emulator image is most likely an older build that is mainly intended to include all of the developer-oriented features and APIs so that developers can build applications that will be compatible with the final version. In other words, I’m sure there’s more to come.